cover image Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

Robin Herrera. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1039-1

Herrera's vivid debut introduces a contemplative girl who finds an unlikely community at her new school. Ostracized for living in a trailer park (and, according to her classmates, having a mullet), Star decides to launch a school club, hoping to make friends. Her second attempt%E2%80%94a club about Emily Dickinson%E2%80%94actually attracts a handful of members, including an offbeat girl and two boys who are always in detention. As Star faces painful realities about her own family and continued prejudice at school, even from her teacher, her fellow club members come to her rescue in surprising and frequently heartening ways. Star's motivations for reaching out to her classmates are pure and affecting (she initially forms a trailer park club to "teach our members all the good things in trailer parks so that they'd stop thinking trailer parks were full of trash"). Despite Star's demoralizing circumstances, she maintains optimism, exploring her emotions through confessional vocabulary-word sentences, and without resorting to empty affirmations. A tender and truthful novel that addresses stereotypes without promising easy answers or cookie-cutter closure. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Mar.)